I sincerely apologize to everyone for allowing so much time to go by without writing.  For this gardener winter is a busy season.  The cooler weather (what little we have been given) and lack of mosquitos offers a great opportunity to get major things done in the garden.  As of now all of the azaleas that once swallowed my house are now gone! 

To remove these suckers was no easy task.  We could not yank them out with a vehicle because our ground is too soft.  Therefore, we had to dig, use an electric saw to cut the roots, loosen the huge shrubs from the earth with a long iron bar, and then dig some more.  It was very hard work and I would not wish it on anyone.  Although, after a few months we finally took out the very last one.  Here is my husband with the final azalea.

Then was the fun part of getting this beast down the hill to the curb to get picked up.  He had to roll the bush because it would not fit in the wheel barrow. 

 

Then once those were gone we had to weed out the new 45 foot x 9 foot area for the first flower bed of the cottage garden.  Next, we amended the existing soil with somewhat decomposed horse/goat/donkey manure given to us by a friend who owns a small farm.  I can use the fresh manure because I am not going to plant now as it is too early.  After the manure was applied, a thick layer of mulch was added to prevent more weeds.  Now I will let it sleep until spring.  I will start planting in April, which by then the manure will be aged and will not burn the plants.  Here is me loosening the soil.  

As you can see the other half is still not finished.  It’s on my list of things to do.  In the mean time I have been putting some thought into what I would like to go in this bed.  Over the past two and a half years I have made list upon list of plants that I must have in this cottage garden.  However, I was a little nervous about drawing it on paper.  Not sure why, but my guess is I would be forced to make final decisions. 

Luckily this past Sunday I woke up with ideas in my head about the large border.  When I get like this I don’t stop until something is drawn.  I will talk about nothing (probably boring my husband to tears) but which plants might work in that space.  I will flip through books and search on the internet looking for pictures to help me visualize.  By night fall I had something drawn and I must say I am quite proud of it…and really excited! 

Within this drawing are antique roses, butterfly bushes, and several cottage style perennials like Shasta Daisies, Hollyhocks, and Iris.  I have been waiting several years to construct a large garden of my own.  As it gets closer I am overwhelmed with joy.  I look forward to sharing this garden with all my friends, family, and anyone who passes by it.  I promise to keep you updated on the progress.  Now get off this computer and get in your garden!

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